The Benefits of Submissions

14 Oct

So I said I was going to do a post about submissions and so here it is. Basically, subs are just time-consuming right? You have to read/skim a bunch of journals and find something that seems like they might want to publish your work. Then you read/skim your own work to see which ones are the most ready to be published. Then you collect these works and write a boring cover letter ( ok well mine are boring. You know yours are too! Don’t lie…) . You then find some stamps/send an email and begin hoping and praying they accept you. Nothing glamorous. Nothing unusually difficult. Just time-consuming. And when you have a billion other things to do and think about then it can be hard to want to fit this in. But you must.

I don’t know how things are for prose writers. I won’t pretend to speak for the entire writing communities minds on the benefits of submitting work to journals. But I will tell you why I continue to do the mundane task of sending out work despite the rejections:

  1. Because it will help me get money later.  Many grants which are available for writers/artists want proof that you are a working writer/artist and not just some guy on the street who decided he wanted free money today. The best way to prove it is with submissions. What better way to say you’re working then if you have proof you’re getting published?
  2. It introduces me to new reading material. Since I’ve been sending out work I’ve had my eyes opened to the world of journals/magazines. While for many this form of publication is a dying art it’s still a great way to find stuff to read. To discover people who write similarly or differently or who you would never in a million years have published.  The only way to get better at writing is to get more exposure to interesting writing
  3. It forces me to produce. Because more and more journals come out of MFAs they have long submission periods. And many journals don’t appreciate simultaneous submissions. So what does one do? Write, Write, Write.
  4. It makes me feel productive. I use submissions to procrastinate. Why? Because I am a workaholic virgo and if it doesn’t feel productive it feels wrong. Fortunately, this feels productive.
  5. Because someday I want people to say they read my poem. Totally selfish (not that these other reasons weren’t) and vain but I’m fine with that. I want to be read and I know that at least a few people will read my work if I send it. Even if I never get published I know at least one person at each of these journals has read my work and maybe just maybe I’m infecting them. Pretty hot huh?

If you submit, why do you do it? If you don’t, why don’t you? Also whats your routine? I try to send out work every Tuesday over the lunch hour to at least 2 journals. How about you?

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2 Responses to “The Benefits of Submissions”

  1. writenowlife October 13, 2010 at 9:59 PM #

    Hi happened by your blog. Great post and great submission ethic to be regularly circulating either something edited or new on Tuesdays. I consider myself to be a reformed, chronic non-submitter. I’ve got a file cabinet neatly organized with poetry, short stories and essays that have either never seen the inside of a submissions envelope or have had limited circulation attempts. I think what stopped me in the past was partly feeling it was an overwhelming task to properly research suitable markets for my work and fear of success (weird one, I know). My goal now is to start with submitting something at least once a month and building up from there.

    • misse87 October 14, 2010 at 1:19 AM #

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I know what you mean about feeling like you haven’t done the proper research. My favorite piece of advice about submissions is to look at the writers you admire, the people who you feel your work is most like and look at where they’ve been published. It narrows the field and is more geared toward your interests. Good luck with your once a month submission! Let me know how it goes!

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